Jennifer Loren is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker and the director of Cherokee Nation Film Office. Evolving from an investigative reporter and producer to a documentarian and host, she has been in the television and film industries since 2001. Jennifer started her career in television news where she moved around the country as an anchor, producer and investigative reporter, ultimately landing at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2014, she joined Cherokee Nation Businesses where she co-created the highly acclaimed documentary-style show Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People. Jennifer is the executive producer, host and show-runner of the docuseries, which is often called OsiyoTV. She also produces and directs many of the short documentaries in the show. A proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Jennifer is humbled and thrilled to share her tribe’s stories with the world.
In 2019, Jennifer helped to create and roll out the Cherokee Nation Film Office and now serves as its director. A first-of-its kind endeavor by a tribal nation, the mission of the Cherokee Nation Film Office is to increase the presence of Native Americans in every level of the film and television industries, while creating opportunities for economic development and jobs in the Cherokee Nation. Also in 2019, she was named a Woman of the Year, Pinnacle Award winner by the Tulsa Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Tulsa YWCA.
Jennifer has been nominated for more than 30 Emmy awards and has been awarded ten of those; nine as Executive Producer and Host of Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People and one for investigative news coverage in 2012. Jennifer has won several AVA Digital Gold and Telly Awards, also for her work on OsiyoTV, and the show has been the recipient of several other awards, including the Association for Women in Communications’ 2016 and 2017 Clarion Awards. During her time in news, Jennifer won several awards for investigative reporting, including a Society of Environmental Journalists’ award and the prestigious Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award. While all of the accolades are validating, Jennifer says the most rewarding part of her job is working with and learning from citizens of the Cherokee Nation.
Jennifer’s favorite job of all is as a wife and mother. She has two daughters who keep her busy with after school activities and Jennifer volunteers with their PTA and school foundations, and serves on multiple other Boards in the Tulsa and Oklahoma communities.Jennifer is a graduate of the Gaylord College of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma and an active member of the Native American Journalists Association and Society of Environmental Journalists.
Maggie Cunningham (Pawnee) is an Emmy®-winning producer and Production Manager for OsiyoTV.
Before joining the OsiyoTV team, Maggie worked in the museum and cultural heritage field. Her previous roles included positions as an archivist and tribal NAGPRA Coordinator. She also spent time as a project manager for several Native-owned consultation and media production firms. She saw firsthand the impact an Indigenous narrative can have on a community during her time researching at Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum of Aotearoa (New Zealand). She continued to cultivate this focus in her years of cultural heritage work. Her experience working within Native communities here in Oklahoma has only solidified her drive to tell authentic Native-led stories. Maggie holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in Studio Art and Native American Studies. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Museum Studies from New York University. Maggie grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and currently resides in Tulsa with her husband and young daughter.
Brit Hensel is a Tulsa-based writer and award-winning filmmaker whose work focuses on Indigenous storytelling and environmental justice. Her passion for storytelling first took shape through her work as an independent screenwriter and co-founder of Selu Productions. She’s previously directed and produced the documentary films, Zibi Yajdan (2019) and Native and American (2017). Brit comes from the Giduwa people and is a citizen of Cherokee Nation. She earned her BA in History from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, and is a 2019 – 2020 NeXt Doc Collective Film Fellow. Brit joined the OsiyoTV team in 2019 and continues to use her love for storytelling to help amplify the voices and values of the community from which she comes. Most importantly, she hopes her work honors and makes Cherokee people proud.
Rory Crittenden is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker from the Peavine community of the Cherokee Nation. His filmmaking journey began by creating short action films with his friends and family on a digital camcorder. Rory joined the Osiyo crew as an intern in 2018 and was hired full-time as a producer in 2019.
While working as an intern he produced and edited the segment Cherokee Almanac: Stilwell Strawberry Festival, and has produced stories for the fourth, fifth and upcoming sixth seasons of Osiyo. He is a licensed FAA 107 drone operator and was awarded a medal for his work as a camera operator for his school’s morning announcements in the fifth grade.
He currently lives in Tulsa with his wife Christy and their two Critters.
LeeAnn Dreadfulwater (Cherokee Nation) has devoted her career to working for the Cherokee people. She joined the OsiyoTV team in 2019 after 25 years working inside the Cherokee Nation government. LeeAnn brings a broad-based experience to her role as a researcher, social media coordinator and historian for OsiyoTV. Her career began with Cherokee Nation’s health system as a training officer and curriculum specialist. She later worked as a senior policy analyst and training and development officer for the tribal government. In 2006 LeeAnn took a role in the Cherokee Nation Communications office as the tribe’s media relations officer, working with local, national and international media to facilitate accurate information about the tribe. She managed the Nation’s multi-media studio and graphic design staff, providing direction for projects such as the Cherokee National Holiday artwork. In 2011, LeeAnn launched Cherokee Nation’s first official social media presence, a Facebook page that has now grown to more than 250,000 followers word-wide. She holds Speech and Mass Communications degrees from Northeastern State University and studied Occupational and Adult Education in grad school at Oklahoma State University. LeeAnn is an avid trail rider, who spends many hours volunteering on trail advocacy at the state and national level. She and her husband Frank live in Park Hill, Oklahoma, on a small farm with their horses and other pets.
Ashley Beck has more than a decade of experience in entertainment, journalism and communications. Beck’s career in the media sector is diverse, excelling both in front and behind the camera. She has covered Hurricane Katrina, presidential visits and elections. She now strives to advance Native stories and filmmaking in the Cherokee Nation and the state of Oklahoma while also creating an outlet and opportunities for Native Americans in the entertainment industry. Beck holds a BA in broadcast journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Media at Arizona State University and is a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
David Ballard has been creating with pixels, code and sound waves for more than two decades. His first love is music but design and user experience are near and dear to his heart. In a former life, his design agency handled many successful creative projects for tribal and local businesses. He’s a father to six sons (3 human and 3 canine). David tries to balance his digital life with plenty of analog activity that sometimes includes screen printing, songwriting and reading actual books made of paper. David is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and can sing you under the table during any given battle round of karaoke. He is an unabashed nerd and happily serves as a human Swiss army knife for all things creative and digital.
Jeremy Charles is a writer/director/producer/cinematographer and leader of FireThief Productions, a Cherokee-owned film production company. Beginning his career as graphic designer and freelance writer, Jeremy spent a decade as a photographer recognized for his bold portraiture and work in the music scene. He has been proud to lend his eye and expertise to Cherokee Nation projects for the past 15 years.
Since answering the call of filmmaking, Jeremy has filled nearly every role in production in hundreds of short docs, narrative shorts, branded content and music videos. He is a co-creator, producer and director for “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” which has earned five regional Emmys, and he was awarded Best Director in 2017 for the documentary short “Singing Tradition”. His direction of the music video for ‘Everybody Needs’ by Branjae earned Judge’s Choice Graphex award in 2018, and his films have been selected for numerous film festivals.
Creating content for Cherokee Nation is a lifetime commitment for Jeremy. This work includes a pilot for an original animated series in Cherokee language “Inage’i (In The Woods)” and narrative short “Totsu (Redbird)”, also in Cherokee language. Jeremy is currently developing a supernatural crime series based in Cherokee culture, narrative feature films, and documentary series.
You can learn more about his work and FireThief Productions at www.firethiefpro.com.